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Game Thread: Portland Timbers vs CD Marathon (CCL/Leg 1/2021) 3 pm

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The Timbers kick off 2021 with Concacaf Champions League match

MLS: FC Dallas at Portland Timbers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

I’m still coming to terms that with this afternoon's kick-off, the Portland Timbers are beginning their 2021 season with a Concacaf Champions League match. While it’s seemed to be a long winter, the Timbers on TV should be chicken soup for the soul.

Here’s what Coach Giovanni Savarese had to say about CD Marathon.

“Marathon is a team that has been struggling in their season in Honduras, but if you watch the matches, they have been always competitive,” Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “They have a style of play that they believe in; they’re all very much engaged to that style of play, and it’s complicated.”

I would be highly surprised if the Timbers run out Sebastian Blanco. I mean, do you really want someone who’s coming back from a major injury to play on the road in Concacaf? MLS is one thing, but Concacaf will be Concacaf .

In his CCL preview, C.I. DeMann predicts that this will come down to a one-all tie headed back to Portland and the friendly confines of Providence Park.

3) Next prediction: the final score will be 1-1.

Yes, this would be a disappointing result, but it’s as confident as I’m willing to be. Marathon’s in the middle of their season, so we know they’re in better shape than us. They’ve also got a home-field advantage, so they’ll be better able to avoid the sinkholes, landmines, and feral cats. And from what I hear, they play a very high pressing style, which is always a bit scary, but is especially so when you’re still working off the preseason rust. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Timbers look really bad in the opening 45 and go into halftime down 1-0.

Things will improve, though, and I’ve got Dairon scoring just a couple of minutes into the second half, heading in a Yimmi Chara cross. I’ve got Blanco coming in around the 75th minute and looking good, but not great. And I’ve got 12 minutes of second-half stoppage time. (I mean, the purple nurple incident alone will take around seven minutes to sort out. And don’t get me started on the pitch-invading dog chasing the pitch-invading cat. That’s five minutes, easy. Really 12 minutes of stoppage time is generous. Can I go back and raise that to 15?)

So who do you think pulls out a victory this afternoon? Let us know in the comments!

Game Info:

Location: Estadio Olimpico Metroplitano | San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Kick-off time: 3 p.m. PT | 6 p.m. ET

TV Broadcast: FS1